Hello fair readers, and welcome to this week's edition of Rick's Rants. After an incredibly busy start to last week (I had to catch Curb, Californication and Heroes On Demand) the TV big wigs collective served me an excellent well rounded full night of television on Wednesday filled with fantasy escapism, intense competition, and hilarious absurdity and I thank them for their valiant effort.

RICK'S RANTS: Quips on Television's Finest

I began my evening on ABC, a channel I rarely start with despite their tag line being "ABC, Start Here." ABC led off the evening with the season premiere of Pushing Daisies, a trippy new show about a boy named Ned who can bring people back to life with a touch of his finger. Needless to say there are some interesting caveats to his power (including that people only get to live for one minute) that seem to be randomly inserted into the story just to lead to the funniest part of the show's premise: Ned and his business partner, Emerson Cod (stone cold Chi McBride), go to the morgue and ask murder victims who killed them and then collect the reward for solving the crime. I'd say the premise / concept is medium-rare, but the execution is fantastic. The show looks and sounds like a cross between a Wes Anderson and Tim Burton movie on LSD. Despite being a big fan of both Wes and Tim, Daisies just didn't do it for me. The visuals are great, but the story is just too damn cutesy for me. I'm all for original concepts and trippy visuals, but if I can't take the plot seriously then I can't enjoy the show. I'll give Pushing Daisies one more week... hopefully the second episode will be dressed to impress; otherwise I'm done with it.

RICK'S RANTS: Quips on Television's Finest

After the lackluster Pushing Daisies, Top Chef delivered with a tour de force of a finale. Of all the reality shows out there Top Chef is the only one I watch regularly (If I'm being honest, I do manage to squeeze quite a few episodes of Run's House in there too). It's so much fun to watch extremely talented people compete, and as every episode passes the intensity builds exponentially. If your mouth isn't watering from the food, it will be when the gorgeous scarred beauty Padma Lakshmi makes an appearance. Padma is the only woman I've ever seen who uses her giant scar to enhance her sexuality, and oh boy... does it do the trick. I love her so much, I just want to take her out behind the middle school and get her pregnant (for all you 30 Rock enthusiasts out there). Padma may be stunning but the true heart of Top Chef lies in the large chest of head judge Tom Colicchio. He is certainly the most intelligent, articulate foody I've seen on TV and it's got to count for something that he's a cultural icon for the Bear Community - a subculture in the gay community. "Bears" are usually gay or bisexual men with hairy bodies and facial hair; some are heavy-set, but that is not a requirement (straight from Wikipedia). I'm not a burly gay man, but I am a big fan of Tom.

The finale: (for Top Chef watchers)

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When embarking on the finale I had my fears that Casey would win unjustly. I don't know if anyone out there has noticed the disclaimer that zips past at lightning speed at the end of each episode, but it details the fact that the producers have a hand in choosing who must pack their knives and go. That disclaimer coupled with the constant text who you think should win to Bravo during the commercials certainly heightens my suspicions about the objectiveness of the decisions. I was a bit disappointed that the second to last challenge clearly favored Casey, but in the end justice was served. Don't get me wrong, I like Casey as much as the next Top Chef fan, but that doesn't mean she deserves special treatment from the judges. In retrospect I think the fairest decision was made. I was pulling for Dale but Tom couldn't take more than one bite of his lobster course... so be it, Hung is certainly deserving of the title. Top Chef has become somewhat of an event in my apartment. One of my roommates is a pretty impressive cook, so when Wednesday night rolls around he whips up the most gourmet meal he can muster and then we sit and watch. It's been a great season filled with delicious food, fun drama, and some amazingly hot outfits from the resident scarred beauty. Hopefully Bravo will start Top Chef 4 sooner than later, and considering their ratings I wouldn't be surprised to see my favorite reality show returning in a few short months. Congrats Hung.

RICK'S RANTS: Quips on Television's Finest

I ended my evening with the oh so glorious return of South Park, a show that has grown up with me and that I hold very dear to my heart. When I was in middle school South Park was pure fart jokes and cursing and I loved it. 11 years later almost every episode makes a political or social statement that tickles my quasi-enlightened college aged self in just the right way. What an amazing 11 seasons it's been. Tonight's episode didn't make a social commentary but it did teach me a very important lesson: Tourette's syndrome is extremely hard for those inflicted with it, and their families... and it is not appropriate to pretend to have Tourette's to bash Jews on national television. Thank you Stan, Kyle, Kenny & Cartman for the many valuable lessons, some of which I will carry with me until the end of my days.

I'll be watching Pushing Daisies, the Top Chef Reunion and South Park this Wednesday. Feel free to post your thoughts on Wednesday night TV or on whatever you feel like writing about. I'd love to get a best of South Park list up, leave a comment with your favorite episode if you can choose one. Until next time...

- Rich

Dont't forget to also check out: Pushing Daisies, South Park